6 Sep 2005

Fiji faces major power blackouts from Thursday

10:19 am on 6 September 2005

Fiji is bracing for major power blackouts as more than 400 workers of the state-owned Electricity Authority prepare to go on an indefinite strike from Thursday.

The general secretary of the Fiji Electricity Authority Workers Association and Labour MP, Daniel Urai, says there is a possibility that almost the whole of the country will be without electricity if the management and the government fail to address their problems.

He says during the last meeting with the management, workers were informed that their grievances would not be addressed.

The strike will go ahead despite the minister of labour, Kenneth Zinck, declaring it illegal.

The Fiji Sun reports that Mr Zinck has accused Mr Urai of using the employees and the strike for political purposes, adding that it was no coincidence that the strike would coincide with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in Nadi.

The Fiji Electricity Authority's public relations officer, Karalaini Naciqa, is quoted as saying, " Let them go on strike and do what they want to."